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Harding sets “not-so-friendly tone” at State of the Community address –
Yelm Mayor crosses a line, denigrates women officials – owes them an apology


Yelm Mayor Ron Harding, new Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby of Olympia
Photo credit: Steve Bloom, The Olympian

Mayor Harding owes an apology to Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby and Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero for his demeaning comments implied in general about women, and these two distinguished ladies, in particular.


– “Not-so-friendly” comments kicked-off by Yelm Mayor Ron Harding
“Five elected officials gathered Wednesday [January 13, 2016] for a State of the Community address to the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, talking about recent accomplishments in their respective jurisdictions as well as answering specific questions about the future.

One key question was raised by forum moderator Mike Marohn, owner of radio station KRXY 94.5 FM: How are we going to collaborate on a regional basis to promote our shared Thurston County goals?

“Speaking Wednesday were Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder, Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby, Yelm Mayor Ron Harding, and Tumwater Mayor Pro Tem Neil McClanahan.”

After Selby and Romero gave their opening remarks, Harding set the not-so-friendly tone by saying, ‘I knew two women would take too long,'” quoting Rolf Boone, The Olympian.
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– Editor’s Note:
Harding’s tone in his remark was totally inappropriate and denigrating to women, especially newly sworn-in Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby and County Commissioner Sandra Romero, attending her last Community address to the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, as she retires at the end of the year after a distinguished career in public service. Commissioner Romero is noted for her monthly coffee chats with her constituents throughout the county and especially in Yelm the last 7 years. Romero’s coffee chats have provided a platform for public engagement on a neutral site (i.e. not City Hall), something Mayor Harding has never done in his 10 years in office (he has never conducted a Town Hall public forum with his constituents).

Mayor Harding owes these two ladies his apology.
This unprofessional manner is not conducive to Yelm’s leadership nor to fostering a true working relationship in answer to the key question: “How are we going to collaborate on a regional basis to promote our shared Thurston County goal?”

If this is Mr. Harding’s condescending tone in public about two fellow elected officials, was Harding’s tone also abusive to his staff, which led City Hall employees unionizing last year?


– “Thurston Chamber hosts 2016 State of the Community forum”
“In Yelm, the focus was also on water — rights and conservation, that is. After the Washington Supreme Court cancelled the city’s permit, Yelm appealed but lost. Currently, says Harding, they’ve asked for a reconsideration and are working on alternatives. Meanwhile, they’ve developed a conservation plan that extends the life of potable water.

‘Yelm used the same exact amount of water in 2015 as we did in 2004 with half the population,’ said Harding. ‘We’ve also improved our lost water system and reduces lost water down to less than 2 percent.’ Yelm has also begun construction on a long-planned Community Center as well as a state-of-the art skate park, ” quoting the Business Examiner.
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Posted by Steve on January 13, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

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